About Me

Tasha head shot

I’m Tasha Harmon, founder of New Perspectives Facilitation, Coaching and Training. I combine over 20 years of professional experience in community development and the non-profit sector with my skills as a co-active coach to support people in community-focused organizations who want to work more easily, creatively, and effectively to accomplish their good work.

“Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose.” And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites, polar opposites, so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic.

Power, at its best, is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.[1] It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our times.

Martin Luther King Jr. — delivered during his last presidential address
to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on August 16, 1967
[1] Emphasis mine.

My approach to facilitation, organizational development, change management, coaching and training is rooted in my assumption that to do the healing that is so needed — of ourselves, our communities, our relationships, our world — we must learn to move from curiosity, empathy and love, and to communicate and act skillfully across significant differences, across fears, across misunderstandings large and small. I believe this work, done mindfully, can help dismantle the systems of privilege and oppression that are endemic in our political, economic and social systems, and in the ways we see and understand the world and ourselves in the world.

As a relatively able-bodied, college educated white person from a lower-middle class family, a bisexual, cis-gender woman, a city-dweller, and a person over 55 (to name my identity in a few of the categories we might discuss), I have a lot of different roles and experiences in the systems of privilege and oppression that are pervasive in our world. Like most of us, I am living an experience of intersectionality, and this experience, along with a commitment to attend compassionately to that experience and to recognize it in others, gives me one useful foundation for doing the work of transformation and liberation, for myself, and for the world.

Much of what I have been doing to increase my ability to do this critical work in the last few years has focused on understanding whiteness and systemic racism. This is because of where I stand in the relationships of power and privilege; as a white woman, it is where my own frontline work is.

To that end, I recently added a page on my website with resources on whiteness and systemic racism. The list is intended primarily as a resource for other white people, to help us dig more deeply into the exploration of whiteness and systemic racism in service both to our own healing and transformation, and to doing proactive and effective anti-racism work.

I am also seeking out other facilitators who are interested in developing an active community of practice around this work, where we can support each other in the process of deepening our ability to do this critical work. If you are interested, please contact me.

I am committed to building healthier communities.

I’ve lived pretty much my whole life immersed in trying to create healthy communities. I grew up in the household of a Montessori pre-school teacher and a community organizer, in very diverse, but neither equitable nor inclusive, neighborhoods and schools in Chicago and Brooklyn. I spent my undergraduate years trying to understand how social change happens, and my graduate school years learning more about how physical and economic structures shape communities and relationships. Much of my work life focused on creating communities where the housing stock meets the needs of everyone in the community, while my volunteer time has been spent in my step-daughter’s public schools, and helping create the Coalition for a Livable Future, the Portland Community Land Trust (now ProudGround), and the Northwest Community Land Trust Coalition.

I “get” nonprofits and other community-focused organizations.

I have spent most of my professional life in the nonprofit world.  I have been an executive director twice, for a total of 14 years, for two vibrant and still active organizations — the Center for Popular Economics, and the Community Development Network (which merged with AOCDO to become Oregon ON to increase the scope of its work). I’ve helped to create four new nonprofits and several coalitions, have served on nonprofit boards in many different roles, and have taught a wide variety of workshops both locally and nationally at conferences, community colleges, and as internal staff training. My consulting, training and facilitation work began in the nonprofit world, and much of it is still done there, but I also work with schools, housing authorities, other governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and small businesses; organizations that are creating healthier and more inclusive communities, supporting people who need to get on a more secure footing to make the changes they want to make in their lives, and creating environments where people can grow in community.

I can facilitate change, and can teach you to do the same.

I’ve been involved in organizational development, facilitation and coaching work since the mid-1980s. I began doing individual coaching in 2006, while doing intensive training and certification at the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). In the last decade, I have begun to explore and integrate deeper understandings of the impacts of trauma on what kinds of relationships and systems we build, and to learn tools to support healing and transformation both individually and structurally. In 2019, I began digging yet more deeply into equity and inclusion work, including participating in trainings and retreats with Resolutions Northwest (Artful Facilitation Grounded in Racial Equity), the Adaway Group (intro to Whiteness at Work), and Inclusive Life (Embodying AntiRacism and their Accelerator). I am continuing to build my capacity to notice and address my own white privilege, and to name and help create antidotes to toxic and excluding norms created by systems of privilege and oppression in relationships, organizations and communities.

The work I love best is work that allows me to integrate the approaches and tools of co-active coaching, somatic trauma work, and anti-oppression work, with my deep understanding of organizational development and community building to support people and organizations in creating transformative change. I’ve done plenty of traditional strategic planning and board development work, but these days I focus primarily on helping groups deepen their capacity to engage the people they serve and each other in more curious, respectful, relational ways, building commitment and capacity for intentional change, and creating processes and systems that support good communication, strong, creative collaboration, equity and inclusion.

The focus of my work is creating environments and processes that free people up to grow into their gifts and do their best work. I am continually delighted by the powerful shifts that happen through combining coaching, somatic and equity and inclusion-focused tools with more traditional facilitation, analysis and training approaches to support insight and change.

I do have both ESB and WBE certification – #6608.

Other things

I am a musician, a writer, and have been a facilitator of writing workshops for Write Around Portland. (You can find my previous band at www.kendalin.com.) I am a student of the Alexander Technique, yoga, Voice Dialogue, and Compassionate (Non-Violent) Communication. I am a pedestrian at heart and get cranky if I have to spend too much time in the car.

I live in Portland, Oregon, with my composer-arranger/music teacher/band co-leader husband, Shawn Orpinela, three fabulous cats, and a garden that has learned to put up with a lot of benign neglect.

If you want more details, you can also view my LinkedIn profile.

Please feel free to call, 503-788-2333, or email me with any questions you may have.

Tasha Teaching

“Tasha is extremely intuitive and we felt that in a very short time she understood our dynamics and concerns.  With her guidance, and with tools she provided, we were able to craft a workable plan of action.”

Roberta Hellman, Kol Shalom

“Tasha’s calm demeanor matched with her personal commitment to developing the individual as well as the team is unique and compelling.”

Rebecca Channer, independent contractor and consultant (and executive coaching client)

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